xt7jh98zct60_13 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1956 November 28 text 1956 November 28 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_13/1956_11_28_Bevins_Quail_p1.pdf 1956 November 28 1956 1956 November 28 section false xt7jh98zct60_13 xt7jh98zct60 I
Morning View Kentucky
28 *ovember 1956
Hello Mr. McCarthy,

, The other morning, blinking through snowflakes that rode wildly
down a bitter wind, I stood watching a covey of quail build their
wheel. They were comfortably full of grain I had heaped at one
of the feeder spots, and now they wished to take cover for an hour
or two. Lead by my particular friend Mr. Wheat, they wandered with
their delightful stop—and-go pace some fifty feet from the food to
the shelter of low brush.

This year's youngsters still scooted about like water bugs while
Mr. Wheat started what would soon be a solid disk of birds. He
found just the right spot, made little motions with his feet oddly
similar to the first few reaching strokes of a person learning to
skate, then settled on the snow, looking like a plump little boat
headed almost due west -— about 270 degrees. Presently another older
bird settled some inches away, facing about 110 degrees, their
relative positions seeming purely haphazard, not part of a pattern
at all. The others moved in more rapidly now, and as they filled .
the gap between the two and continued past them, the perfect circle

' of birds appeared, all shoulder to shoulder, all facing outward.
The wheel seemed complete with two youngsters left over, but they
confidently trampled on the backs of the others, found invisible
gaps, and snugly fitted into them. Snow Was already drifting over
Mr. Wheat's back and in a few moments they blurred into obscurity.
It is never winter inside the quilted dOWn of my storm coat, but

' nothing has yet been invented which will keep my feet from getting
cold, so i retreated homeward, remembering with glee as I Walked.
an incident involving Mr. Wheat and one of your quail last June.
Incidentally, I refuse to believe that a bird of the intelligence
of a quail goes around shouting such meaningless foolishness as

‘ "Bob White.” To my ear they call ”Oh Wheat.” A whistled hob White
brings silence or a disinterested reply from Mr. Wheat; but if I
call H'lo Wheat, he will shout back happily.
Though gregarious and gathered into coveys during fall and winter,
quail, when they have divided up into pairs during the spring
nesting season, stake out a section of land as their own and guard
it furiously. When the female is on the nest, the male prefers to

‘ Spend most of his time standing guard on the low branch of a tree, if
one is not too far away. Mr. Wheat is most wily. Each spring he
somehow persuades his mate to nest in the edge of the pond-field
near the tree patch, so that his guarding branch is on a tree at
whose base is a feeder, and which is not more than fifty feet from
the house. ,

They walk from the nest to the feeder together in the morning and
he stands

 p a_
idly about while she eats. afterward they walk back to the nest again
acd presently he returns alone to Spend long hOurs on his branch or
at the feeder beneath.

Early last June a quail in yOur yard was coming through with such
volume and clarity that it seemed as though he must be inches from
your mike.

I looked outside. Mr. Wheat Was already on his perch, his back

toward the house, idly polishing his dewy feathers. I plugged the
adio on battery and took it outside, putting it on the ground without
seeming intent some thirty feet from Mr. Wheat. You were talking at
the time, and, being thoroughly accustomed to the radio, Mr. Wheat
merely glanced over his shoulder and returned to combing his feathers.
You brought in your quail again, and I gave the volume a boost and
Waited. Your quail called, clear and close. Mr. Wheat literally nearly
fell off his branch in his haste to turn around. Not for years had
other quail violated his territory during nesting season. ihere could
be no mistaking his utter astonishment. Every feather expressed
stunned disbelief. An invader in his area Was incredible, yet the
call came again.

I retreated to hhehhouse, while Mr. Wheat, still retaining the height
advantage of his perch on the branch, looked about for his challenger
with bright, angry eyes. Seeing nothing, he shouted what I assume .
Was a peremptory order to go away at once.

Completely unaware that he Wes taking part in a bitter argument,

' your quail called once more. Mr. Wheat flew to the ground, evidently
thinking the intruder Was hiding and would have to be hunted out.
as your quail continued vocal, he shouted a furious response and
charged hedlong at the radio, seeming considerably surprised to find
nothing behind it.

Then it became very confusing. Your quail continued to call but he
was leaving the vicinity of your mike, hence coming more distantly
from my radio. Mr. Wheat was obviously puzzled but still highly
indignant. He was sure now his enemy Was in the black leather box
and inspected it thoroughly for means of getting him out. He decided
his foe Was behind the grating of the Speaker, and stood in front
of it shouting every possible insult, with frequent pauses to see
whether they were having the desired result of bringing the hidden
one out.
By now your quail Wasx very far aWay and you began a commercial,
which Mr. Wheat ignored, though he Was standing directly at the
speaker, and, with the volume high, you were fairly shouting at him.
Finally music took over, not startling him particularly, but obviously
bewildering him the more. after circling the radio several more
timesand standing patiently staring at it for a while, he stalked
off to the bird bath for a drink, ate a bit of grain, and returned
to his guarding branch whence he called several reassuring messages
to his mate.
He batched the radio until I brought it indoors, and eyed it with
considerable suspicion whenever I had it outside all the rest of the
summer. I suppose the few minutes of clamor that June morning set
some sort of distance record in quail battles. ,a%mmw1Lfi~Q7

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